So is this great and wide sea…
One of the great and
manifold works of God, made in his wisdom, and full of his riches and
possessions, as the earth is; this is that collection of waters which
God called seas, (Genesis 1:10) and is, as Kimchi observes, great in
length, and wide and spacious in breadth; or "broad of hands" F9, as
in the original; or spacious in borders, as the Targum; it washing the
several parts of the continent, and encompassing and embracing the
whole earth with both arms as it were. Nor is it unusual with other
writers to call the sea the great sea F11, and to speak of an arm or
arms of the sea F12, as we do. Isidore says F13, the great sea is that
which flows out of the ocean from the west, and goes to the south, and
then to the north, called so in comparison of other seas that are less,
and is the Mediterranean sea, This is an emblem of the world, which may
be compared to the sea for the multitude of nations and people in it,
as numerous as the waves of the sea; for the temper of the inhabitants
of it, being like the troubled sea, restless and uneasy, casting up the
mire of dirt and sin; and for the instability of it, and the
fluctuating state and condition of all things in it.
Wherein are things creeping innumerable;
so that it seems there are
reptiles in the water as well as on land; and indeed every creature
without feet, and that goes upon its belly, in the element where it is,
whether earth or water, is a creeping thing; of these swimming or
creeping things the number is exceeding great, especially of the latter
sort; fishes increasing much more than the beasts of the earth. Their
species are innumerable; so their kinds or sorts are reckoned up by
some one hundred and forty four F14, by others one hundred and
fifty three F15, and by others one hundred and seventy six F16; the
Malabarians reckon, up 900,000 fishes, and 1,100,000 creeping things F17.
These are an emblem of the common people of the world, which are
innumerable; see (Habakkuk 1:14) .
Both small and great beasts;
for there are creatures in the seas which
answer to those on the dry land, both of the lesser and greater sort,
as sea lions, sea horses, sea cows, sea hogs… these may represent
the rulers and governors of the world, supreme and subordinate; it is
no unusual thing for great monarchies, and persons of great power and
authority, to be signified by beasts rising out of the sea,
(Daniel 7:3) (Revelation 13:1) .
F9 (Mydy bxr) "latum manibus", Montanus; "spatiosum manibus", V. L.
"amplum manibus", Vatablus.
F11 Virgil. Aeneid. 5. Lucretius, l. 6.
F12 "Veluti par divexum in mare brachium transitum tentaturus", Liv.
Hist. l. 44. c. 35. "Nec brachia longos" &c. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1.
Fab. 1. v. 13, 14.
F13 Origin. l. 13. c. 16.
F14 Origin. l. 12. c. 6.
F15 Oppianus in Halienticis. Vid. Hieron. in Ezek. 47. fol. 260.
F16 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 11.
F17 Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 963.